Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Ephesians 4:4-6
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” When writing to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul reminded the Christians to “keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). In this letter, he did not merely tell them to be united, but by inspiration (I Cor. 14:37), he showed them (and us) the true “platform for unity” in the Lord’s church. If we are to be united, we need to respect the seven “one’s” (body, Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism, and God) that needs to be among God’s people. These simple words are packed with meaning and truth that deserve more attention than we can devote in this short article. Just understand that when we remember the basis or foundation of religious unity, we will be able to withstand anything that Satan will throw at us! Satan tries to “divide and conquer” in order to get us away from Christ and devour us (I Pet. 5:8). Yet, in Christ, we have unity (Gal. 3:28) and victory (I Cor. 15:57)! Let us be active and fulfill Ephesians 4:3 by living Ephesians 4:4-6!
– Jarrod Jacobs
“What Prevents Me From Being Baptized?”
The above question was asked by an Ethiopian many years ago. As Philip preached Christ to him (Acts 8:35), they came to a certain water and “the eunuch said, See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized? … and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:36-39). The question the eunuch asked is still valid. What is preventing you from being baptized?
Is false teaching preventing you? Many people today are taught that baptism is not necessary for salvation. They are told to simply believe or to say a sinner’s prayer for salvation. Isn’t it telling to see that when the preachers of the New Testament taught folks, those listening wanted to be baptized! Yet, when many preach today, people do NOT want to be baptized!
Please read Acts 8 and notice that when Philip preached Christ to the people in Samaria (Acts 8:5), he taught them about “the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ” and baptism (Acts 8:12). “Simon the sorcerer believed, and after being baptized, he continued with Philip” (Acts 8:13). When Philip spoke to the eunuch and “preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35); the first time he saw plenty of water, he wanted to be baptized. Are we seeing a pattern? The teaching concerning baptism began with Christ (Matt. 28:19; Mk. 16:16). The apostles and disciples of the Lord then carried this message to the world (Acts 2:38, 10:48, 18:8, 22:16; I Pet. 3:21; Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:26-27). When the people heard the New Testament heroes preach, they wanted to be baptized. What is hindering you from being baptized?
Are friends and family preventing us? Depending upon our friends and family, they can pressure us to do the right things or the wrong things. Have they pressured us into not obeying the Lord? The Bible says: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Jesus said: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37). In order to please our Lord, we must obey His command to be baptized for the remission of sins regardless of what others might say about us (Phil. 3:8). What is hindering you from being baptized?
Does the urge for popularity prevent us? It is not popular to be a Christian. In fact, Jesus promised His apostles that men would hate them for no other reason than they served the Lord (Jn. 15:18-20). Peter said that some men would be “surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery” (I Pet. 4:4). We need to decide whether we wish for popularity with this world or to be the friend of God. We cannot have it both ways (Jas. 4:4)!
Could selfishness be preventing us? Some people refuse to do anything unless it is their idea. Could that be my attitude? Have I not been baptized simply because I didn’t want to? The Bible says that I need to put away such attitudes and place Christ’s kingdom first (Matt. 6:33). I need to love God even more than my own life (Lk. 14:26-27).
Whatever is hindering you from being baptized, realize that this hindrance is keeping you from enjoying spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3); from being in a covenant relationship with Christ (Gal. 3:27); from having your sins forgiven (Acts 2:38, 22:16); from being a child of God (Rom. 8:16-17); and from a home in Heaven (Col. 3:1-4; Rev. 2:10). Is this really worth it?
What Is Man’s True Value?
If anyone wants to know his actual value, consider the value God and Satan have placed upon you. You see, by words and actions, they have placed a value or worth upon each one of us. What is it?
We get a good idea of what Satan thinks man is worth in Matthew 4. Read Matthew 4:1-11 (or Luke 4:1-13) for the entire context. We will focus upon Matthew 4:8-9. “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory. And he said to him, All these things I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
Perhaps we have read this before and wondered what use Christ would have with buildings, gold, silver, etc. The truth is, He has no use for such things (Ps. 50:10; Acts 17:24-25). In truth, Satan, being the “god of this world”, “the prince of this world” and “the prince of the power of the air” (II Cor. 4:8-9; Jn. 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; Eph. 2:2) was not offering Jesus buildings and lands, but was offering Him the people, the souls who occupied those lands!
Put simply, Christ was offered every soul’s subjection by Satan. Christ was tempted to avoid the cross, the suffering, the rejection, etc., by worshipping Satan! Think about it: This is Satan’s estimation of every person! He would gladly give away every person on earth if he could just have Christ as his servant! To him, you and I are but pawns in his twisted, selfish work.
God’s estimate of man’s value is far different. Instead of looking for things He might consider more “valuable” than us, God sent His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for us (Jn. 3:16). This sacrifice was first promised in Genesis 3:15. This “theme” of redemption echoes throughout the pages of the Bible. God’s redemption for man is offered to us out of love and mercy so that we do not die in our sins (Matt. 20:28; Rom. 5:6-8).
When Jesus stood before Pilate, He declared that He had come into this world to die (Jn. 18:36-37). His sacrifice was a selfless sacrifice. He gave Himself to die on the cross so that the souls of humanity could be saved from sin (I Pet. 1:18-19). Is there not a clearer contrast between Satan’s estimation of man and God’s?
Now that we understand Satan’s and God’s estimation of our value, why are we continuing to fall into Satan’s snares (Jas. 1:14-15; I Jn. 2:15-17)? Satan does not love us. He is a liar and murderer from the beginning (Jn. 8:44). He lurks and hunts for folks to devour (I Pet. 5:8). He makes sin seem so sweet, lovely, and fulfilling; yet it is full of rottenness and filth (Heb. 11:26; II Pet. 2:19-22).
Let us stop falling for his lies. Let us open our eyes and see the truth. God loves us and has provided the best for us. He has given us a way to be saved (Mk. 16:16), and if we will be faithful for our short lives (Jas. 4:14), we can enjoy an eternity in Heaven (Rev. 2:10; II Tim. 4:6-8; Rom. 8:16-18; II Cor. 4:17). While on earth, we can see that we are blessed people when we belong to Him (Eph. 1:3; I Pet. 3:10-12). We are truly valuable to God. To Him, we are priceless; to Satan, we are worthless! Why not leave sin and selfishness and follow the only One who believes we have real value.
Calling On The Name Of The Lord
I am sure that our readers have heard people say words to the effect, “If you are not a Christian, all you need to do is call upon the name of the Lord, and you can be saved.” Some will teach that in order to be saved, you must say, “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner,” or similar things. Such teaching is a misapplication of what is said in Romans 10:13. There, the apostle Paul wrote, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” What does it mean to call on the name of the Lord? Let us read the context of Romans 10 and find out.
“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?’ So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:13-17).
Please notice that after the apostle Paul says we must call upon the name of the Lord to be saved, he asks a series of questions that point out what it means to call upon the name of the Lord. In order to call upon the name of the Lord, we must: 1) hear the gospel, 2) believe the gospel, and 3) obey the gospel! Therefore, calling upon the name of the Lord is a comprehensive thing, not simply saying the name, “Lord.” In Acts 2:21 we read the same phrase. Here, Peter quotes Joel 2:28-32. Peter shows that the events happening at this time on the day of Pentecost were a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy (v. 16). At this time, he said, “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).
What did he mean? Were they commanded to simply say, “Lord”? No! They were told to “hear these words” (Acts 2:22). Peter then proves that Jesus truly is the Son of God (v. 23-35), and said, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36). To “know for certain” is to believe. When the people asked what they needed to do to be forgiven of murdering the Son of God, Peter said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins .... Then they that gladly received his word were baptized...” (Acts 2:38-41).
Therefore, when one calls upon the name of the Lord, he is simply obeying God’s plan of salvation to hear God’s word, believe that Jesus is the Son of God, repent and be baptized! Is this not simple? Of course, it is! Let this article be an encouragement to people to call upon the name of the Lord as the Bible directs before it is too late (II Pet. 3:9)!
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Matthew 28:18-20
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Christ’s words before He left this world are words of action. By His authority, the gospel is to be preached, and those taught are to be baptized. These people are then to be taught “all things” Christ commanded, and the cycle continues on to this day. Before leaving this world and ascending to His Father (Acts 1:9-11), Christ gave His apostles a final commission – a Great Commission – that will continue to be fulfilled until the end of time.
- Jarrod Jacobs